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"How it Feels to be Colored Me"

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Cathy Shin

on 5 September 2013

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Transcript of "How it Feels to be Colored Me"

Cathy Shin
Mr. Ramon
AP American Literature (0)

"How it Feels to be Colored Me"
by Zora Neale Hurston
"Invisible Man" by Ralph Ellison
Extended Metaphor
To symbolize her self-pride
She is too busy "sharpening her oyster knife" to stop to think about the pain that is caused by discrimination
As a "dark rock surged upon" she emerges all her strength in any hardships that she has had to endure but still manages to keep her self-esteem.
But in the end, she acknowledges moments when she feels her racial differnce
The shoes that were "saved for a road that was never and never will be," are referring back to the opportunities she had anticipated but was unable to pursue it due to her race.
She now accepts her racial difference.
Hurston uses a conversational tone and informal languages to take the read on this journey to show a vivid imagery of her childhood.
In the beginning of her essay, she delves into her childhood in Eatonville through anecdotes describing moments when she greeted neighbors, sang and and danced in the streets, and viewed her surroundings from a comfortable sport on her front porch
"Pick it up, goaddamit, pick it up!" someone called like a bass-voiced parrot. I crawled rapidly around the floor, picking up the coins off quickly (Ellison 27.)
The briefcase as a naive kid, and then hangs onto it for the rest of the novel.
Indicating his past vulnerability, eagerness to please, and youthful ambitions, his final loss of the briefcase suggests a complete severance of ties to his youthful past and a true rebirth.
“Oh, yes, my friends. I’m sure you’ve heard it time and time again; of this godly mans labors, his great humility and his undimming vision….." (Ellison 120)
Barbee gives a speech praising the Founder of the college only to later reveal that he is a blind man. Then Brother Jack turns out to have a false left eye.
This shows the flawed nature of their sights. Barbee gives a great speech praising an institution and man that are basically shams, and Jack undergirds aterribly apathetic ideology.
Realizing this social invisibility, the narrator decides to pair it with actual invisibility, and drops out of sight for a certain amount of time.
“Our white is so white you can paint a chunka coal and you’d have to crack it open with a sledge hammer to prove it wasn’t white clear through” (Ellison 217).
The narrator's first job is in a highly patriotic paint company most famous for its Optic White paint color. In order to create this pure white, the narrator is instructed to add ten black drops of toner into each bucket.
America would not be America without the contributions of black people.
The name "Liberty Paints" is ironic since it implies freedom for all
First theme
Self-pride and Social Acceptance.
Second Theme
Ultimate Sight, Vision, and Perception.
Third Theme
Identity Full of Lies and Deceit.
Audio Clip
Explicit Theme and Style
Full transcript